A Colombian “peace community” has been nominated for the prestigious Sajarov Prize for Freedom of Thought, dedicated to honoring those who are committed to defense of human rights.
The European Parliament announced Thursday that the Colombian peace community, San Jose de Apartado Peace Community, has been nominated for its annual Sajarov Prize.
The peace community was nominated by the European United Left Party, which explained that “this community of Colombian peasant farmers have become an internationally recognized symbol of courage, resilience, and dedication to the high values of peace and justice, in an environment of brutality and destruction.”
San Jose is a small village located in Antiquia. Since 1997, the villagers have embraced nonviolence and declared themselves neutral in the armed conflict between the Colombian National Army and neo-paramilitary groups.
The announcement commended the villagers, saying “in a country plagued by decades of civil war and conflict, this community rejects affiliation to any of the armed groups and demands freedom and liberty for normal people.”
Former winners of the Sajarov Prize include former President of South Africa Nelson Mandela, Burmese political activist Aung Sang Suu Kyi, and former Secretary of the United Nations General Kofi Annan.
Besides San Jose de Apartado Peace Community, this year’s nominees include political activists from the Arab Spring movement, a Palestinian peace activist, a Belarusian journalist, and a Slovene writer and concentration camp survivor.
The Sajarov Prize is awarded annually to “individuals or organizations that have made an important contribution to the fight for human rights or democracy.'” The final winner will be announced on December 14 and will receive $68,970.